I've always claimed that I was a lover, not a fighter and I thought back in elementary school that the Beatitude "Blessed are the peacemakers . . . ." might be the only one that I could pull off with my level of reverence. Actually, in the early 1960's, despite the alarums and drums of war, we lived pretty violence-free lives.
However, word came to me from a friend that two friends of ours had differences over a girl, yclept Gloria, and that they would fight over her at a particular time and place. In short, an old-style New Orleans duel, but with fists or bats, rather than swords or pistols. Now I thought that their fighting would suck in that they would get injured and not be worth shit for running, and there would be discord, and I'd have to choose sides, and there would be a general bad scene. Besides, truth to tell, they were both lousy fighters. Also the mutual friend expressed a half-hearted notion that I could stop this altercation, somehow.
Now I know that my 17-year-old leadership quotient was somewhere in the range of Paris Hilton's IQ (room temp), so it was a grand waste of time on my part. And who was I to stand in the way of True Love?
However, I ran into one of the future gladiators, and he seemed to be quite unsure of his motivation; but did not want to lose face. A little further limited reconnaisance indicated that the other friend was also getting second thoughts as well. Therefore, I proposed a possible bloodless method of solving the problem.
Here was it: I inquired whether they would consent to arbitration by coin toss. One of them would call "heads" or "tails," and whoever won got the girl. Furthermore this duel, while not following the strict rules of the Code Duello, would be done in a secret place under the mututally-agreed rules. One rule was that there would be strict silence.
So I tossed. And one called heads or tails. Whoever lost gracefully accepted the results.
I must say that the girl in question who was the subject of the duel lorded it over her classmates for many months. Indeed, she was regarded by the other girls as an early 1960's femme fatale. The coin toss loser (I refuse to declare him the loser) laid low for few days, presumably to recover from his loss.
This was one occasion in which three people did keep a secret successfully. Maybe it's because it was seen as somewhat subversive in the natural order of things, and we were all, in our own ways, co-conspirators.
Incidently, the one who won kept her for a little over five weeks. Sic transit gloria mundi. That Gloria was a bitch, too.